Well I timed that perfectly didn’t I? Off to Spain for a week in June, a bit of (possibly deserved) R & R, and the chance to chill out for a few days. Naturally, I failed to check the calendar, so here I am “relaxing” – in Royal Ascot week, closely followed by the US Open – comedy timing at it’s very best.
Anyway, golf has been getting more headlines than it is used to, and for all the wrong reasons. It will be interesting to watch some of the groups body language when the players who have snubbed the PGA Tour for the Saudi dollar are mixed up with those they left behind? Hopefully that will not be putting any of my selections off their game (it may even spark up a few of them, I suppose), but I cannot even try to second-guess that aspect of this tournament, and will work with the same set of stats as I do every time – sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
With $15 million or so in prize money up for grabs and 10 times that in sponsorship opportunities, the powers that be at golf’s top-table have made sure this will take some winning, as we head to Country Club at Brookline, Massachusetts , one of the five founding clubs of the USPGA, and altered to make the renewal here that little bit more difficult. The holes have been moved around to confuse us all, but in the end, what we have is a par 70 of about 7300 yards, with the par 3 11th a personal favourite – a tiny green surrounded by horrendous bunkers. Let’s see if we can find the winner shall we?
Selections with reasoning:
***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here accurately as they differ by the minute. Betfair prices quoted are as indicators only and were correct at the time of writing.
1pt each way Xander Schauffele 25/1 top 9 places William Hill
There is no point in beating about the bush – American golfers win the majors more often than any other nationality FACT and I can see Xander adding to that tally here. He has no real weakness in his game that I can see and is a solid all round player when the chips are down (pun intended), and if you are looking for a reason to back him try this – five outings in the US Open have seen him finish in the top seven each and every time, and with nine places up for grabs, we would have picked up the place part of our bet every year. I do get the feeling he is not in love with the game as much as some, and he can play badly when seemingly bored in lesser events, but give him centre stage and his game really comes together.
1pt each way Sungjae Im 35/1 top 10 places Sky Bet
Don’t you just love it when you find an outsider in with a fighting chance? Although the South Korean is not a household name just yet he will be if he wins or places here, and at the age of 24, he still has his best years ahead of him. He isn’t the biggest of hitters so the long courses do not see him at his best – but give him a more technical challenge (like he faces here), and his game comes to life. He did mis the USPAG after testing positive for covid but that will only add to his already steely determination here, but can he really mix it with the big boys? He ranks second for avoiding bogeys which suggests consistency is his middle name, though his other stats peak with a fourth for eagles made. He won’t be setting the course alight, don’t expect any outrageous shots or a string of birdies in a row, just a steady game of few mistakes and the odd highlight – and that may be all he needs to get into the top ten here.
1pt each way Justin Thomas 12/1 top 9 places William Hill
At first glance his price is shocking but in reality , he ought to be heading the betting whereas my old nemesis Rory McIlroy has that dubious honour. His stats are simply ridiculous this season leading the field in average birdies per round, second in scoring average and third in sand saves, which I feel may be all-important around this course where many of the greens are better protected than the US President. In case you have forgotten he won the PGA Championship this year and wasn’t far adrift of Rory in the Canadian Open when coming home in third in a warm-up round, and if he can keep his drives on the straight and narrow (not the best part of his game), he won’t be far away on Sunday evening.